Greece – A forest fire was quickly closing in onseveral villages in the Peloponnese in central Greece on Wednesday, forcing theevacuation of hundreds of residents as well as camps and monasteries in theregion.
Officials on the Ionian island of Kefallonia declared a state of emergency asa huge forest fire destroyed dozens of homes and came close to engulfing eightvillages.
One firefighter was taken to hospital after suffering from breathing problems.
Meanwhile, a forest fire in the Peloponnese region of Aegio was closing in onseveral villages, trapping hundreds of residents. Five helicopters wereimmediately dispatched to try to evacuate the residents, many of them panickingas they watched their homes go up in flames.
Firefighters with the assistance of aeroplanes and helicopters were alsobattling fires in the western regions of Ioannina as well as on the island ofHydra and ancient Epidavros in central Greece.
Dry weather conditions and record-high temperatures have caused hundreds offorest fires since the beginning of July and forest rangers have been placed on24-hour fire patrols over the next week.
More than 1,000 additional firefighters were being sent to northern Greece tocontain dozens of blazes.